Nowadays the relationship between a doctor and a patient has become very mechanical and devoid of any emotion. The doctor treats simply the body but not the mind which is behind all ailments. He or she simply tests the body with one medicine after the other. They know nothing about the patient they are treating. The concept of Family Doctor has become practically non-existent. This reminds me of beloved Dr. Hari who was our family doctor.
I first met him when I was about six years old. He was just out of his medical college and even for that young age he was a very patient listener. While treating me for my bruises he was answering all my questions including the brand name of the tubelight he had in his dispensary.
He never cared about the fees but was content with the love shown by his patients. His patient list swelled day by day. Most of them, I suspect, went to him just to pour out their problems. I don’t understand how he was never tired of the verbal display of many diseases, both imaginary and real, by patients throughout the year.
Whenever I fell ill, I would go to his clinic to recite all my symptoms, fears, pain and would sit before him somberly awaiting his diagnosis, fearing the worst. Instead, he would keenly at look my face , chuckle carelessly and would say “Nothing has happened to you! Since you are complaining so much, I am prescribing this medicine. If you still feel unwell, come tomorrow”. On hearing his reassuring words, half of the disease would fall in the dustbin kept in his room and after taking a single dose of medicine I was never in need of visiting him the next day.Sometimes I might feel too lazy to go to his clinic. So I would ask my mother to explain my symptoms and get medicines.
Many times he would oblige. On rare occasions he would summon me in person, and with a touch of sarcasm in his voice, he would ask, “Do I look like a veterinarian to you? Even a vet takes a look at his patients before prescribing something. Hereafter if you don’t come in person I will not give any medicine”. Even after this stern warning the business would go on as usual, till the next rare occasion comes.
On one occasion his clinic was closed for three days. Only after seeing him we came to know that he was not well. As an inquisitive and talkative girl I could not help asking him how, as a doctor, he could fall ill. With mild amusement he replied, “When any cold, cough, or fever comes next time I will tell them that I am a doctor so that they won’t bother to return”. I thought he was invincible. But fate had other ideas.
He was called to heaven on an urgent business by the Almighty. May be God thought him to be the correct person to take care of somebody there. Nowadays whenever I fall ill and wait for the doctor in his reception, I badly want to hear that chuckle just for reassurance that everything was OK. He was not just a doctor for me. He was my family member.